Thursday, November 26, 2009

Squirrel Mischief

The artwork is Christmas related this week. I am definitely getting into the Christmas mode now. The cards are almost finished and my own are waiting to be written and posted before we have another national postal strike!!!

This is called "Unexpected" for obvious reasons. Not sure if there is a man in the background or whether the skimmer wants a kiss under the mistletoe.

A very stylised partridge in a pear tree.

This is a quick digital sketch I did last Christmas as a response to seeing a TV programme where one of the characters got fed up with all the Christmas razzmatazz. I think quite a few people look like this at the end of the festive period.
Now for some childrens' illustrations. I love browsing the charity shops for childrens' books. They are extremely cheap and have some amazing illustrations. This is from the book "The Winter Hedgehog" by Ann and Reg Cartwright. I really like the colour palatte they have used here and that gorgeous purple gallinule. This is from a blog called Childrens' Fantasy Illustrations which you can find here.

Alice and Martin Provensen are American artists who illustrated childrens' books in the main. They worked together to produce some amazing artwork and I have posted some examples below. They were a married couple and I believe she is still alive although he died in the 80s.

This is the Flickr site here where you can find the Alice and Martin Provensen group.

A book illustrated by the Provensens uploaded to Flickr by who can be found here.

An illustration from Karen's Opposites illustrated by the Provensens. This is from Flickr user art.crazed who can be found here.

The cover of the childrens' book illustrated by the Provensens. I love those hens.

An illustration from The First Noel by the Provensens. You can see all the illustrations here on wardomatic blogspot.

The woods don't look like this anymore. Most of the leaves have dropped now with the incredible gales we have had for the past week. It was great looking at and walking over carpets of leaves though.

I love this necklace by Etsy seller klmjewelry. You can find her shop here. She has some lovely items. This reminds me of the tiny coloured sweets we had as children.

I was out walking in local woodland a couple of days ago and spied this cute fellow. Not a brilliant photo but he was high up in the tree. I spotted lots of squirrels scampering around in the wood. They are very easy to spot when the trees are bare of foliage.

I was quite surprised to see him start munching on the tree bark. Then I noticed the bare patches of exposed wood and realised that he, or his countless relatives, had been chewing on this tree for quite a while. I looked around and there were quite a few trees with similar bare patches.

Apparently they strip the bark to get at the sweet sap underneath but sadly leave the tree exposed to infections and possible death over a period of time. They prefer some trees to others. I am not sure what species this one is.

He seemed to be saying to me "I can eat all the bark off this tree and you cannot do anything about it...hahah". I knew squirrels could be very destructive but hadn't witnessed it first hand before. Grey squirrels get a bad press but some of it seems deserved. I hate to see trees being damaged.

I found the website of textile artist Pamela Allen quite by chance when I was looking for something else. I love her bright, contemporary quilts. They are so full of life, colour and texture. Her website is full of lots of lovely fibrey things to look at here. (You will need to click on the pictures to enlarge them to get more of the detail.)

Getting My Ducks In A Row

Wanna Bite?

3 Guinea Fowl

Some of you may be familiar with the work of artist and ceramicist Claire Loder because she has recently been seen at Origin. This is the two week contemporary craft show at Somerset House which is organised by the Crafts Council. I used to go when it was in Chelsea but I haven't visited since it has relocated. I think I will have to start visiting again.

Claire produces amazingly quirky ceramic heads and faces. She is interested in the stories faces tell and is inspired by naive and outsider art. She has a website here and a very interesting blog here with lots of her work displayed.

She's Sunny

Her Hair

Her paintings can be seen here at the Brownston Gallery in Devon.

The Great Unknown

Absolutely love this very graphic peacock wall decal by Sally Boyle. Lovely colours and design. Sally is a graphic artist and can be found here on Etsy.

Oxaca (pronounced Wa HAH ka) is one of Mexico's poorest states but it has a folk art tradition to rival anywhere. The woodcarving men and women of the area are famous for their beautiful and exquisitely painted carvings of animals, birds and people. They are deliciously humourous and quirky and are very collectable worldwide. The book below is one I have had for many years and is full of great illustrations of the art.

Mermaids - Avelino Perez

Turkey - Moises Jiminez

The beautiful Oxacan carvings below are from the Flickr site of Teyacapan who has some amazing Mexican artifacts, pottery and textiles. Well worth a look. Also lots more of these carvings to be seen here on her site.

Virgen de Soledad

Blue Bat

Blue Eyed Fox

Oxacan Jack Rabbit


Pomona said...

Your posts are always so interesting - I come back to them over again to look at the different things you have discovered for us. I have to say I very much prefer red squirrels to grey - I think grey ones sneaked in on the back of the reputation of the reds! They are not really very nice animals - and crazy the way they are destroying their own habitat!

Pomona x

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Lots of lovely visual variety - really like the guinea fowl and the jack rabbit. Lesley

andamento said...

I really like your partridge in a pear tree design.

I also seem to collect illustrated children's books - having a 4yr old daughter helps though there are some books I'll keep long after she and her little brother have outgrown them, some for the memories and some just for the lovely illustrations. Charity shops are indeed a great source, our local one sells children's books for 10p each!

Cathy said...

I love that jack rabbit too Lesley. So full of colour and movement. It would look lovely on my

Cathy said...

Thanks Ann. I wasn't too sure about that one but it is growing on me. What did we do before charity shops I wonder. My book collection would certainly be a lot smaller.

Cathy said...

I think the greys were introduced from the USA in the 19C. They are not native to Britain and originally we would only have had red squirrels. I must agree with you there. The reds are definitely preferable to the greys. They eat much less and cause less damage to the environment and I think they are prettier with their long tufty ears. I have only ever seen one red squirrel in the wild and that was in the Lake District.

ArtPropelled said...

I can spend hours browsing through childrens books looking at the illustrations. Gorgeous illustrations here Cathy. I love the Oxacan turkey.

Crafty Green Poet said...

oh lovely post as ever! I love your stylised partridge! And Pamela Allan's Getting my Ducks in their rows is wonderful, i can just imagine doing that with rabbits as well to be honest.

Lovely squirrel photos too, lots of them around here at the moment too, very destructive but very cute...

Anonymous said...

That's a great partridge and pear tree design. This will make a wonderful card!

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Cathy, I think that your Partridge In A Pear Tree would make a lovely Christmas Card.

I didn't realize that squirrels would eat tree bark like that. Those little critters can be quite destructive. They have ruined many of our birdfeeders.

Cathy said...

Hi Robyn, those Oxacan wooden figures are lovely aren't they, and I agree about the childrens' books. They often have the most beautiful illustrations.

Cathy said...

They are cute Juliet with their fluffy tales over their heads but I fear for our woodlands. Apparently they don't go for all tree species though. They are taking over our bird tables at the moment and they sit nibbling for hours on end and keep the birds off.

Cathy said...

Thanks Mellanie. I think I will make some cards of that design. I still haven't done my Christmas cards yet.

Cathy said...

Hi Phyllis, no I didn't realise quite how destructive they were either. They certainly take over our bird tables and squabble with the magpies for pole position. It stops the smaller birds getting on though. There is nothing we can do because if I go out to frighten them off they just pop over the other side of the hedge and then come back when I have gone indoors.

Caroline said...

Cathy, I really giggled over your jaded Christmas woman - I'm sure many of us can relate to that feeling!! I could easily spend a small fortune on children's books (well any book, really!)so really have to be firm with myself! Now that I have your tip about charity shops I'll make a bee line for one when I'm next in UK! Those carvings are splendid! Oh and I really like your new header!

Cathy said...

Hi Caroline. Yes, I think quite a few of us feel a bit jaded at the end of the festivities and are longing for simple food and back to normal. I think she just about sums up the look...haha.

Glad you like the header. It is only a temporary one because I didn't really have time to draw a proper one. I seem to be spending ages doing things but not getting anything done at the end of the day. Same for us all I suppose.

Holly Zemak said...

I am getting into the Christmas spirit myself. We are expecting some snow tonight, but it should melt tomorrow. Wonderful design on Partridge in Pear Tree. When I go to a book store I have to check out the children's section and at Christmas there are so many to choose from.


Such an adorable post. Thank you for always bringing us amazing visual treats. Your own art work is fascinating. You have inspired me here much more than you will ever know! xx

Cathy said...

I agree Holly. The book stores know we want to buy books at Christmas and they bring a lot of lovely new titles out. We are not predicted to have anything but mild and wet and windy this Christmas so enjoy your white Christmas over there.

Cathy said...

Thanks very much for those lovely words Carolyn. I must say all the hard work searching out new artists and craftspeople is worth it. There is so much wonderful work out there.

Lorraine Roy Art Textiles said...

Hello Cathy, I was alerted to the existence of your blog when it came in as a referral for my site. What a beautiful, inspiring collection of artwork, including your own! Thank you for sharing all this and for posting my images. I will definitely visit here again!

Cathy said...

Hi Lorraine. Thanks very much for getting in touch re: your lovely textiles. I find your work extremely beautiful and I am sure other people will too.

28CenturyArt said...

We really like it, the textiles are inspiring and the leaves on the trees remind us of japanese pop-art.... check our blog out

Cathy said...

Hi thanks for the comment. Lots of lovely inspiring art to be seen on the Internet these days.